The residents of the capital of Armenia Yerevan see many more tourists from Iran during this time of the year than they normally do. The reason is that many Iranians have chosen Yerevan to celebrate Novruz.
Celebrated on the first day of Spring, Novruz is the favorite holiday maintaining a strong tradition in Azerbaijan, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey and in central Asia. At its core, the Novruz festival celebrates the awakening of the natural life. This awakening symbolizes the triumph of good, winning against the evil forces of darkness that are represented by the Winter. Novruz is the point when the oppressive presence of the cold Winter finally begins to retrieve with the commencement of the lively and hopeful Spring. This symbolic and poetic change corresponds to the mathematical instance of the sun leaving the zodiac of Pisces and entering the zodiacal sign of Aries, also known as the Spring Equinox.
The young people from Iran travel to Armenia with large groups to be able to celebrate Novruz while they can attend Yerevan's numerous nightclubs and can drink in public. Whereas in Iran you can only drink inside your house and there is no such a thing as public drinking.
The reporter of the Armenia radio interviewed a young lady who is staying in front of Yerevan hotel saying "look I can have my beer here and don't have to carry a scarf, which is an obligation in Iran."
As Armenia has become the touristic Mecca in the region due to its rich culture, public liberties, warm weather and affordability the Armenian and Iranian companies had to make charter flight and bus tours to Armenia to accomodate the travel needs of about 20,000 Iranians.
"We went to night clubs, danced and were able to have good time with our friends. Yerevan is near to Iran, full of good people and provides good opportunities for fun and celebration," says 25 years old Amir from Iran while shopping in Yerevan and who thinks the traditions are too strict in his country Iran.
Tourism, established as one of the priorities of the national economy, has been steadily growing in Armenia. Last year the Armenian government had created an action plan for the development of the travel industry in the country. The plan provides for the development of infrastructure and transport, road construction, training of personnel, development of business environment, development of tourism in Armenia’s communities.
It is estimated that an average vacationer spends $1000 U.S. dollars in Armenia per week, which includes most of the expenses, including hotel and meal. Therefore, 20,000 Iranian tourists leaving $20 Million dollars in the Armenian economy is a good investment in the country of 3.5 million people.